Substitute teachers are not scabs.
Couch gag: The family are dressed in karate uniforms and they karate chop the couch to pieces.
Director: Lance Kramer
Jim Cummings as Duncan
Bachman-Turner Overdrive as themselves
Trevor Denman as himself
Synopsis: At the state fair, the Simpsons encounter a mistreated horse and adopt him. Meanwhile, Lisa’s school band loses the competition and she appeals to President Clinton for help.
Discussion: Like many season 11 episodes, this one starts well and ends up, well, pretty craptacular.
Lisa’s school band has made it to the finals, to be held at the State Fair only to come runners-up to the Ogdenville band, who used glow sticks to punctuate their performance. Unhappy about unfairly losing, she appeals to then-President Clinton for help. Well, OK. If it helps to take away the absurdity of Furious D, I’ll allow it. Plus I think every kid needs a lesson in being a sore loser.
While at the State Fair, the Simpsons see a diving horse whose act is shut down for animal cruelty. Naturally, the Simpsons adopt the hapless animal, prompting Comic Book Guy to appear out of nowhere and remind them they’ve done this before. This time, to earn his keep, Duncan is entered as a race horse, trained to be a fighter and he wins races.
And now, get ready for the stupidity to start: Homer is kidnapped by jockeys, who are actually elves and live underground in a fibreglass tree! Not only that, they threaten Homer that they’ll eat his brains if his horse keeps winning! Oh, how hilarious! …Not. What a load of rubbish. Not even a song can save this scene. It doesn’t make sense at all. It’s a cheap, cop-out conflict, reminiscent of the truckies finding out Homer knows about the automatic driving dealy.
Not even the self-reflexive notions of Comic Book Guy are good enough to save this ep. Not only does he point out the similarities in plot from two previous episodes, he rocks up wearing a shirt proclaiming Worst Episode Ever. I disagree with him on this point: up til now I think the worst ep was Skinner being revealed as Tamzarian, and future episodes are pretty bad as well. Nonetheless, we move on.
Finally, one last point. When he accepts his trophy, Homer mentions that Hollywood is leading our kids down a moral sewer. Well thank you Mr Hays. Let’s bring back that Production Code, shall we? It worked so well the first time…